ONE of Filey’s oldest and best-loved shops is closing today after more than 85 years on the high street.
Sterchi’s bakery in Murray Street opened in the mid-1920s, according to owner and chocolatier Phil Cammish, who, with his wife Sue, has reluctantly taken the decision to shut up shop.
Although the equally famous chocolate shop will continue to operate from new premises in Hope Street, there will be no more bread, cakes, flapjacks or japs, prompting some dedicated customers to bulk order their favourite treats over recent weeks.
Mrs Cammish, who has worked in the shop for 19 years, said it would be a very sad day for her, but she and her husband felt they had no alternative.
She said: “I’ve had cards and flowers, and everyone’s sorry to see us go. They’re sorry for Filey as well - nobody wants to see us close. My husband didn’t want to close, it’s just one of those things.”
For many visitors to Filey, a trip to Sterchi’s is a nostalgic reminder of happy childhood holidays spent at the seaside, but the shop cannot afford to rely on holidaymakers as local people tighten their belts.
“With the economy the way it is, people can’t afford the petrol to come to Filey as often as they used to, or to stay as long as they did.
“We can’t totally blame Tesco, although it will have had a knock-on effect. We’ve also had the bad winters which have stopped people coming into town, and shopping habits have changed.
“People used to come and buy fresh bread every day, but they haven’t got time any more, and you can’t just rely on selling cakes.”
Dave Cooper, of Cornwall, said he became hooked on Sterchi’s cakes at the age of 12 when he was an order boy for the butcher’s shop next door.
“Mr Sterchi brought round a box of cakes and I got a taste for them from an early age. Now I come back here once a year for my japs. This shop closing is the demise of an artisan,” he said.
Gwen Burton and Maureen Wilks from the Wakefield area said they always made a point of buying something at Sterchi’s when they came to Filey and were very sorry to see it close. “We used to go in for the fresh yeast,” added Mrs Burton.
Mrs Cammish said some people had cakes and flapjacks sent to them at the other end of the country, while she had been known to take box-loads of purchases to customers in car parks.
She said the shop’s best-sellers were probably their japs, although flapjacks and chocolate cakes have also been very popular.
Some customers are now urging Mrs Cammish to publish a recipe book of Sterchi’s favourites, but she has not yet made a decision. In the meantime, she will be starting a new job as a care worker, and is pleased to say everyone who was employed by the shop has found alternative employment.